FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - With so many people coming to Northwest Arkansas, competition for housing is fierce. We're taking an up close look at the housing market in a three part series.
"I was living with my brother and he just had his second new daughter so he kinda needs his space," says Miguel Estrada. Like many in Northwest Arkansas, Estrada wants a place to call his own. "There was one, but I guess somebody beat me to it - and they had just opened up - it was only open for like a day I think," he says. He did not think it'd be so hard to find one.
Kathy Deck says, "Every year we see roughly 10-thousand people moving into Northwest Arkansas." Working with the Arvest Skyline Report since its beginning in 2004, Economist Kathy Deck monitors the real estate market in the region. She says the continuous flow of people keeps housing inventory low. "Vacancies in apartments right now are about two-point-four percent in all of Northwest Arkansas which is almost zero," says Deck. Keeping competition for available units at an all time high. Deck says, "Apartment vacancies in Northwest Arkansas have been amazingly low for a couple of years now and the natural solution to that is to build more and that's what we see not just in Fayetteville and around the students, but throughout Northwest Arkansas."
According to Deck, there's so much construction, building permits are almost back to pre-recession levels. But if you're looking for more affordable housing, newer may not be your first choice. "Almost always, new apartments are more expensive than the ones that are already on the market because they have more amenities," says Deck. As a result, Deck says apartment complexes constantly compete. She says, "Some of those older apartments that might have been full maybe start losing their residents to the newer places and they're forced to lower their rents, or maybe reinvest in their countertops."
While making the right move may be difficult, if you're looking to make Northwest Arkansas your new home, Estrada says the search is well worth it. He says, "I've been looking for one for like three months already and now I've finally got an apartment."